Kristin made us a blanket for Christmas. Thanks, Kristin! It matches our couch better than the color on the picture shows. It is a soft flannel. The grandkids like it because it is just the right size for cuddling up in on a cold winter evening with a fire in the fireplace.
We like that you have a good sense of humor and that you tell such great stories, and like your mother, "who never met a stranger," you are good at making people feel comfortable around you. Here are a few pictures we like:
Ben, who is two, has two favorite words: Right? and Nevermind.
Right? is always used in the form of a question. For example, if he sees cows, he might state "Cows" and then to verify his statement, he follows with "Right?" Peggy and I have decided it's now a family idiom and have begun to follow some of our statements with "Right?"
As for "nevermind," Ben has gotten into the habit of calling me or Peggy on the phone. Well, it's his mom (Kathy) who actually calls, usually when nothing else will stop him from being upset. He has no problem carrying on a conversation with us for a half hour or more. Due to the fact that two-year-olds know what they are saying themselves, but haven't learned to pronounce all the words for the rest of us, we have only a vague clue of the topic.
So Ben will say a string of words, pause, and conclude with "Oh. Nevermind."
I noticed that because I have a sink that has two handles, I have to adjust the water temperature more often than I would like. It makes for more water all over my sink, and I noticed that my marble was turning yellow under my soap dispensers because of water damage. So I made a cotton doily to put under them. Believe me, I’m very much a beginner at crocheting, and it was really easy for me.
For the pattern I used the first part of “Cloche Hat” by Theresa Richardson. Here’s the link: Crochet Cloche Hat Part 1. I also made some of these cloche hats with a few changes (shorter with no brim and two crochet flowers. Here’s the link for those: http://littlebirdiesecrets.blogspot.com/2009/03/how-to-crochet-flower-video-tutorial.html. I’ll post my finished cloche hats soon. One is for Cami’s birthday, another is for Katelyn. (Granddaughter and genetic half granddaughter––Great Auntie Patti’s granddaughter––Patti is my twin, so genetically speaking, Cami is my half granddaughter).
When you buy hamburger in bulk, boil it. Rinse it and then put it into individual bags and freeze it. The boiling (and then rinsing) seems like it washes more of the fat away, but it also doesn’t clump as much when it’s cooking.
1. Put the hamburger in a pot. Just cover with water.
2. Boil the hamburger until browned.
3. Measure into bags, either ½ pound or 1 pound each.
(One pound, after cooking, is 1⅔ cups. For a half-pound bag, just put in ½ cup and then ⅓ cup.)
These are the ingredients for Leftover Oatmeal Muffins. I got the recipe from homeschoolblogger.com, but then tweaked it for our own use. Here it is:
Whisk together in a bowl:
1 cup flour (home-ground whole wheat flour is a good way to go)
½ cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
pinch of ground cloves
¼ teaspoon salt
Mix together in another bowl:
¼ cup vegetable oil (you can use olive oil)
¼ cup applesauce (make sure the oil and applesauce equal ½ cup total. The ratio doesn’t have to be even, just so the total of the two together is ½ cup. You can also do the whole ½ cup in applesauce with no oil.)
1 cup leftover oatmeal
½ cup raisins
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Preheat your oven to 350ºF.
Grease your muffin tin (I used shortening, but you can just spray it with baking spray).
Mix your dry ingredients.
Mix your wet ingredients.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet until just blended.
Scoop batter into greased muffin tins until about two-thirds full.
Set in the middle rack of the oven. Bake until done, about 18-20 minutes.
Quick Tip: Take your raisins and put them in an old mayonnaise jar. Then freeze them. When you want to use a little at a time, just briskly shake the jar and the raisins break up quickly so you can easily scoop out your required amount. They separate much better than you can imagine and no need to add cornstarch (which we do add to our shredded cheese before we freeze it:
Last Saturday I went to the snow with the Johnsons. We had a fun trip. We found a place just off the freeway to park and ran off into the woods and found a little place to go down a slope. We went down until we started to crash too much, then we threw snowballs and made a snowman. But then the highway patrol helicopter told us that we (and everyone else) were illegally parked and we had to go. Luckily they only gave out warnings.
Last summer Peggy asked me to build a compost tumbler. She had done extensive Internet research and found several nice pictures of compost tumblers that involved big drums and such. But nothing to speak of that used easy-to-find and inexpensive materials.
I made a tumbler out of material that we had around the house, an old trash can, wood screws, nails, 2X4s and a chunk of 1" PVC pipe.
I first made a drawing of the tumbler, then I cut the wood to size and screwed it all together. This link "Compost Tumbler drawing" will take you to Google Docs where I stored the drawing. I added details to the drawing to make it easier to follow. Just keep in mind that there is nothing sacred to the dimensions. I made them for my trash can. I used the same dimensions to make Kerry a compost tumbler. I bought a trash can at the hardware store for hers, it was about $16. It was a little shorter, so I just drilled the axle holes a little lower in the can.
I like to use sheet rock-style screws instead of nails. I found that sometimes, especially in 3/4"-thick wood, it helps to drill a pilot hole to keep the wood from splitting. If you like nails, then use nails. It takes four 2 X 4 studs for the wood. If you have 2 X 4 scraps around the house, just buy three.
Here are more pictures:
I drilled a hole in the PVC and put a cotter pin through it to keep the axle in place. For Kerry's I drove a screw through it.
For my tumbler I soaked the grommets in hot wax so they would not decompose with the compost. For Kerry's I used cedar. I'm not even sure the grommets are needed, but I figured that they couldn't hurt.
This is the type of latch I used for Kerry's tumbler. It was difficult to get the two latches exactly 180 degrees from each other. So she has to be careful about which way the lid goes on.
One of these days we would like to put a tray under the tumbler to catch the small bits that fall out to turn into compost tea. But it's actually surprizing how little falls out.
We made a starter compost to get us going. We mixed (by volume, not weight) a bag of peat moss, coarse grade vermiculite and blended compost (Shout out to "Mel Bartholomew and Square Foot Gardening"). We dumped in about a five-gallon bucket of this mix to get it started. The rest of the mix we put into our garden.
Compost needs carbon, nitrogen and oxygen (about a third each, total):
Carbon things: dry things like leaves (dry and mowed over several times to chop it up), sawdust; straw (like cornstalks).
Nitrogen things: Horse, cow, pig, chicken manure; kitchen vegetable waste, dried grass clippings (no more than a third); Juicing pulp residue; egg shells (crushed well).
Check the moisture level, there should be a small amount of moisture to the touch, but not dripping.
Someday we'll add a tutorial. Unless someone around here has major surgery again. :o
We'll be adding to this as we think about it through the week. Right now it's bedtime. Happy composting!
We left home on Saturday the 19th. Peggy battled the traffic into Sacramento while Marty napped on the back seat. Then we switched. Peggy correctly predicted fog after Sparks. We slowed down and drove on through the night. The front of the car grew thick with frost, which seemed interesting to Marty. We picked up a couple of nice gifts at a truck stop in Wells Nevada, who knew?
Sam and Lily were great. Sam enjoyed telling his mom how nice she was. Christmas Eve was celebrated at "other one grandma's". (It's great to have such nice in-laws! Thanks, Barbara Lynn, Beverly, Barbara, Johnny and Charlie!) Sam and Lily both got inflatable sleds. Lily needed to try her sled out. So Marty blew it up and took her out to the front yard. Marty pushed her down the gentle slope--she couldn't get enough. Sam had a couple of good runs, but it was Lily who just wanted to go and go. So Saturday Marty took Lily sledding. She laughed and giggled every run, until she rolled off and bumped her head. But after crying all the way back up, with Marty carrying her, she wanted to go again. Two last runs under a bright moon, and Lily decided it was too cold. So we warmed up at "other one grandma's."
Sam was enjoying his new DSi (electronic game, camera, drawing thing and it even has a web browser) most of the week. It kept him occupied while the grownups shopped.
We had a quick visit with the Andreasens (Hi Andreasens!), fixed Kristin's computer connection to her printer and visited with the Clifts who were in Utah. (Hi, Clifts who were in Utah!)
The drive home was smooth until the pass. It was snowing, but the road was clear. It was just slow and nerve wracking with lots of snow, rain and fog.
Tuesday, we celebrated Christmas with the Johnsons. Ben's enjoyment of toy trains was the primary fun; including watching a video he received with a Thomas the Tank Engine episode.
Kathy and Peggy got another transcription job from Napa. Those are done verbatim. Kathy types them out and Peggy gives them a second pass--probably the most accurate transcription work ever done (what can we say?). They also get paid nicely for their work.
For Marty, it was back to work. He had to finish the "Employee Performance Reviews" by the end of the year, get some documents off to the State and figure out how to fix a leaking flange and a few other odds and ends.
We celebrated New Years by watching TV and writing this blog!